Paving a Path to a More Equitable Future for Manitoba’s Children and Families
To be a national leader of knowledge, science and innovation in maternal, child, youth and family health. To become a recognized champion for health and healthcare equity for all expectant mothers, children, youth, and families in Manitoba by 2026.
To ensure an environment of equity, diversity and inclusion that recruits, trains and retains the best in basic, clinical and translational research. To advocate for equitable, evidence-based policies and innovations that will improve the lives of expectant mothers, children, youth and families in Manitoba.
We are committed to:
- Viewing everything we do through a lens of equality, diversity and inclusion to help ensure health equity, anti-poverty, and anti-racism in research and health care delivery
- Being mindful of how we identify problems, approach research topics, engage others, collect data, report on results, and apply the resulting research evidence
- Being open to diverse perspectives and ways of doing things
- Engaging interdisciplinary collaborators and community partners in research and the co-creation of knowledge
- Ensuring excellence and integrity in maternal, child, youth and family health research and the delivery of care
- Educating others with respect to these values
A Research Framework for Impact
Research at CHRIM includes a broad spectrum of disciplines ranging from pre-clinical (laboratory) biomedical research using cells or animals through to clinical research on human subjects, to data-focused epidemiological studies, or to examining how to get research evidence into the hands of decision makers. Researchers may focus on a certain disease or condition (such as respiratory, endocrinological, or neurological disorders), on a certain stage of development (prenatal/maternal, infancy, child, youth or family), or on a certain context (such as emergency care, Indigenous health, mental health, and/or socioeconomic, psychological or other environmental stressors).
Working across disciplines and in various contexts, research at CHRIM seeks to impact child health and wellness through three interrelated approaches:
- Understanding the determinants of health and wellness – these may be social, environmental, biological, or a combination
- Developing interventions and therapeutics – including health promotion, disease prevention, social programs, surgeries, or pharmaceuticals
- Increasing knowledge mobilization – ensuring research evidence is used to inform policy decisions and clinical care guidelines
The inclusion of health equity, anti-poverty and anti-racism in this framework communicates our intent to apply these values in all our activities, through education of ourselves and others as well as through advocacy for systemic changes that will promote health equity, reduce poverty and address racism. We recognize we as a research institute need to be educated and informed with respect to these values so that we can educate and inform others and advocate effectively for the needs of all Manitoba families.
In 2016, the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba established a strategic plan with four priorities: Helping Kids, Supporting Researchers, Elevating the Brand, and Increasing Funding. Many organizational changes have been made to advance in each of these areas.
As the world slowly emerges from the (sometimes seemingly interminable) COVID-19 pandemic, we as Manitoba’s centre of child health research are positioning ourselves to look outward to the health and wellness of children in Manitoba. The urgent need for change has been brought to our attention by the Unicef Report Card 16 (2020), in which Canada ranked 30th out of 38 OECD countries in child well-being outcomes, in spite of our having among the best economic, environmental and social conditions for growing up. The pandemic has further widened inequalities for vulnerable populations, who fare worse in every metric. Even more sobering is the evidence that Manitoba has the highest rate of child poverty of all Canadian provinces.
The engagement work of #WeCANforKids has resulted in Inspiring Healthy Futures, a Canada-wide vision for a better future for children, youth and families. We at CHRIM wish to join in this vision by identifying areas of impact and influence where the institute may be empowered, or empower others, to effect real change, especially in Manitoba.
CHRIM as an organization remains fully committed to helping kids and supporting researchers as well as to increasing our visibility and financial sustainability. Going forward, we want to add a lens of equity to set a research agenda intended to have real-world impact on child health and wellness in Manitoba. This agenda will be shaped by CHRIM’s strengths, the needs of Manitoba families, and existing trends and opportunities. It will guide the Institute in all its activities:
- Organizational structure and function
- Telling our story (and changing that story where needed)
- How we work and where our focus is
We are calling this strategic research agenda Horizon 2026 because it will be a beacon that will guide the collective action of CHRIM leadership and community over the next few years as we seek to engage with Manitoba researchers, health-care providers, policymakers and families to maximize our impact and influence on child health and wellness in this province. Notably, the emphasis should be on the Horizon and not on the year 2026; it would be foolish and short-sighted to think we will have “arrived” by this date. Because this process began in 2021, we chose a 5-year horizon to give us time to set in motion certain ongoing actions that will gain momentum as we learn and grow together. Rather than a fixed plan with immovable goals, we will seek to perpetually check our path and make choices to adjust course and steer towards a vison of health equity fueled by actions of anti-poverty and anti-racism.
Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Manitoba is a focal point of this lens of equity. Building on a territorial acknowledgement to open our events, this is a shift to truly see, hear, and partner with the Indigenous children and families of our province in all that we do. We recognize that if we are to truly make an impact with our research, we must represent all Manitobans. Because we are all products of a colonial system that is inherently racist and biased towards the privileged, this presents a monumental challenge. We commit to taking active steps of policy, education and advocacy that are anti-racist and align with the University of Manitoba Disruption of All Forms of Racism policy.
Below is an introductory summary that outlines the opportunities that were presented during the conversations we had within our community in 2021 and presents a plan to keep the horizon of equity in sight as we move forward in a spirit of openness, truth and reconciliation.